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The trig point on Ben Vorlich
The trig point on Ben Vorlich. The summit is passed on the way here (200 metres to the north)
Country: Scotland.
Location: Loch Lomond
Accommodation: There is a hotel and camping ground in the village of Ardlui.
Transport: The A82(T) road between Glasgow and Fort William passes Ardlui where there is also a railway station. A summer passenger ferry links with the West Highland Way on the other side of the loch.
Maps: Landranger Map 0056: Loch Lomond & Inveraray
Trip Date: 1 June 1993
Introduction

The E-shaped ridge of Ben Vorlich (hill of the bay, 943m) lies between the natural Loch Lomond and the man-made Loch Sloy in the northern Arrochar Alps. The summit is at the junction of a long crescent-shaped ridge extending north to south and the shorter Little Hills ridge dropping down to the side of Loch Lomond. There are fine views of Loch and Ben Lomond from the summit and Little Hills. Steep and craggy slopes guard the west (Loch Sloy) side of Ben Vorlich but are easily conquered by the determined hillwalker. A surprising feature is that there are about 5 different routes up the mountain and they are all equally used. Thus any paths are not well defined lower down the mountain giving a better wilderness experience.

The five usual routes are
From Inverglas (park opposite the Loch Sloy power station), walk up the road towards the dam and then climb the undulating south ridge to the summit.
From Inverglas, walk up to the Loch Sloy dam and climb the steep NE slopes to just south of the summit.
From Stuckendroin farm (1 kilometre south of Ardlui), climb up to the Little Hills and then over a col.
From Ardlui, head straight up Coire Creagach.
From Ardlui, go up the private road to Garristuck cottage onto the open hillside where a path is picked up over the top of Stob nan Coinnich Bhacain and south to Ben Vorlich.

The route I describe is a combination of the last two routes.

Route

Walk south from the Ardlui railway station for 400 metres to a 'cattle creep' under the railway line. Head SW up the corrie, keeping above the burn for a kilometre. Turn more directly west and climb up to a small weir on a side-stream. I seem to remember a path as far as here but the going becomes less defined (and boggy) further on. Keep going west along the banks of the side-stream until clear of crags on your right and then head north over the top of the crags. This brings you to the foot of a gully that rises onto the col between Stob nan Coinnich Bhacain and Ben Vorlich. On a fine day, a detour NE up the top is rewarding.

From the col a faint path leads north up grassy slopes with the steepening slopes into Coire Creagach on your left. Rockier slopes are encountered in about 700 metres with interesting winding through various crags. The north top of Ben Vorlich is soon reached and the ridge beyond is grassy once again with a well-trod path along it. The summit is on a prominent crag with the trig point another 200 metres to the south.

I had intended to exit via the Little Hills but the non-existent views (see the photo at the top of the page) convinced me to retrace my steps. However in better weather, you should drop steeply east from the trig point down to a col (about 200 metres descended) and then gain 50 metres to get to the Little Hills. These are the two distinct rocky tops that are crossed as you walk further east. Take the NE ridge from the second top and walk over several small knolls on the way down the ridge. Make your way to Stuckendroin farm where there is a track under the railway returning you to the A82 road with Ardlui about a kilometre to the north.


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